Convictions for domestic violence or drunk driving can ruin a career

A night in jail can be only the beginning of the ramifications for a misdemeanor criminal charge

No one expects to end up in handcuffs in the back of a police car. Jail is for criminals, and you aren't a criminal. Still, you've found yourself on the wrong side of the law. It could be that a night out turned into a nightmare when you were pulled over and charged for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Stress could have led to an argument which resulted in a charge of domestic violence. You may be struggling with substance abuse issues which got the best of you one night. Or you could be in the unfortunate position of being charged with a crime you didn't commit.

The bad news is that without a proper defense, one conviction or arrest can lead to significant career and life consequences. The good news is that you have rights in the criminal justice system, and the outcome of a case is not determined upon arrest. Prosecutors and police must respect your constitutional rights at all times. The failure to do so can lead to evidence being inadmissible in court. Plea bargaining and alternative sentencing, such as drug court and deferred prosecution, can help you show the court that an arrest was an anomaly, one that shouldn't derail your life and career.

Of course, how you should proceed in a criminal case is highly dependent on individual circumstances. You should not agree to any one particular course of action until after discussing all relevant information with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Domestic violence charges can impact career and quality of life

There is no such thing in criminal law as a "slap on the wrist." In addition to criminal penalties such as fines, jail time, and probation, a person convicted of a misdemeanor may face the loss of a professional license or termination from work. Those employed in health care, law, child care, education, or transportation are especially at risk. In addition, a domestic violence charge can drastically affect your ability to see your children, even if there is no history of child abuse. A no-contact order can prevent you from living at home, even if your spouse or partner doesn't want any charges brought. A conviction for domestic violence can even prevent you from coaching in youth sports.

Even if you do not lose your professional license or your job, a conviction can mean that your criminal record shows up on future background checks, which can make it difficult to be promoted or find work elsewhere.

Experienced advocate needed

Everyone makes mistakes. If you have been charged with a crime, one mistake can mean serious and significant consequences. It may be tempting to agree to a deal with prosecutors in an attempt to move on with life. However, agreeing to a deal without discussing the consequences outside of the criminal justice system with an attorney can be a costly mistake.

At the Law Office of Stephen M. Govin, LLC, we can help you to understand your options in minimizing the damage caused by an arrest. Whether aggressively fighting all charges or working with prosecutors on deferred prosecution, Stephen M. Govin can protect your rights, your career and your family when faced with criminal charges.

Keywords: Domestic violence, OWI, deferred prosecution, misdemeanor.